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Does a separate mains spur for hifi make a difference?

Discussion in 'audio' started by junk01, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. junk01

    junk01 pfm Member

    Hi All

    I'm contemplating installing a separate mains spur for my hifi. I've avoided doing it because it'll be quite a hassle due to the layout of my house.

    I've been thinking of adding a spur to my Consumer Unit of 10mm2 mains cable to an unswitched single socket.

    For me, this will be a fairly expensive undertaking and I'm wondering if it is worth it.

    Most of the time my hifi sounds okay, but after 11pm when the mains settles down it can sound a whole lot better. How much this improvement is due to the mains and how much due to my psychological state I don't know.

    So I'm curious:

    1. If you've installed a separate mains spur for your hifi, what did you install?
    2. Did installing a spur make your system sound better e.g. like the after 11pm effect?


    P.S. I should point out that I wont be doing the work - I'll pay for a certified electrician to do it.
  2. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member


    First things first; it's not a spur you need, it's a radial circuit. A spur, by definition, comes off an existing circuit.

    Although I'm an aficionado of dedicated mains supplies, I'm not convinced that adding a radial to your existing domestic consumer unit (even a 10mm2 one !) really justifies a whole lot of hassle and some expense. However, it sure as Hell won't make things worse !:)

    You could put in an RCBO (combo of MCB and RCD) which would isolate it a little, but it'll still share the same busbar. Whatever you do in regard to a dedicated supply, it's going to be better than plugging it into your ring main. How much better depends partly on the quality of your mains supply.

    I've 8 x radials, one for each piece of kit, to a separate c.u. (and no sockets/plugs). If your kit and cable routing logistics warrant a proper installation, which is not expensive in relative terms, I'd be happy to advise further.
  3. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    My father in law fitted a separate mains spur but to be truthful, I couldn't hear a difference. For me, changing speakers has always made the greatest difference to the sound of my system.
  4. Basil

    Basil Harbethian

    + 1

    YNWOAN 100% Analogue

    I've had a radial fitted in two houses for my hi-fi. In the first house the listening room was just above the main consumer unit (which was in the cellar) so it wasn't difficult for my electrician to do. In my second house the previous owner had already fitted such a circuit for the electric shower that he had fitted to that room - I removed the shower (which wasn't in a bathroom!) and reused the wiring for the hi-fi. I never get any noises from the central heating, fridge, Hoover etc coming through the mains and it does sound pretty much the same whatever hour of the day I listen (the previous owner had also had the mains input fuse upgraded by the electricity board to a higher rating - which was convenient :)).
  6. Basil

    Basil Harbethian

    Ditto, but I have no mains modifications at all, the hi-fi shares the same ring.
  7. Ragaman

    Ragaman Mentalist

    It will improve things but don't expect huge changes or improvements, by the time you have had this work carried out you will have forgotten how it sounded before & will probably hear no difference.

    Save your money & buy some wonderful speakers.

    Turn everything off in the house electrical, unplug everything including fridges, cookers etc.. have a listen, it will be similar to this, at least you can check if it may be worth doing. I doubt you will.

    If you could manage to get hold of a demo pair of speakers you have always wanted & can't afford, just switch to them after, then you will hear real improvements.
  8. windhoek

    windhoek The Phoolosopher

    I wanted to do this recently but based on an idea by another fish, ended up using an existing radial, the one for my bathroom heater! I disconnected the heater in my bathroom (which I never used anyway), removed the plug from a 20m 6 gang trailing socket then wired it into the flex output plate. With such a simple move, my hifi is on its own radial with no hassle or cost beyond £22 for the 6 gang trailing socket, easy peasy.

    You're bound to have a few radials in your house already (cooker, washing machine, heater etc), so you could do what I did even as a trial to see how it goes. What I did made a positive improvement and for me, there's no going back :)
  9. Whatsisnaim

    Whatsisnaim pfm Member

    Definitely worthwhile in my experience. A separate mini-consumer unit, 10mm cable, and one or two unswitched double sockets, and you're sorted.
  10. avole

    avole The wise never post on Internet forums

    Agree regarding speakers. I have a separate spur, but have never compared with another.

    What does make a difference is the silence in my place in the country as compared with the apartment in town.
  11. LouisB

    LouisB pfm Member

    Interesting the hi-fi seems to sound better at night.
    I've enjoyed mine a lot late at night sometimes.
    Could another factor be lower ambient noise from outside and the surroundings, too?
    As for a radial, never tried it. If you have a spare one, why not give it a go. However as mentioned you could simulate this initially with an extension lead from an existing radial circuit elsewhere in the house. And turn everything else off.
    If it's going to cost you quite a lot of £ then money might be better spent elsewhere, speakers, source etc. After all, no matter how good your mains is, can't improve limitations in your speakers and hi-fi generally.
    Give the massive difference other parts of the system like speakers can make, unless I was sure everything else was just about as good as possible, near perfect, I don't suppose it'll make such a difference as addressing other areas of the system.
    If you do experiment though, report back. Interested.
  12. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    This is true. I often find that I enjoy the music more either after nine in the morning or late at night. The difference is I can crank it up in the morning.
    Linds likes this.
  13. Rob400

    Rob400 pfm Member

    I'm presently doing a full house renovation and I'm having my electrician fit a dedicated supply for my hifi. I like the reasonable benefits from a dedicated supply but if major work had to be done to channel the cables I wouldn't do it. An earth rod doubles the improvement IME if it can be installed.
  14. adamdea

    adamdea You are not a sound quality evaluation device

    Yes it's the most obvious explanation. Without being able to rule it out, the "it must be the mains" conjecture is preposterous.
  15. Rob400

    Rob400 pfm Member

    I agree with hifi sounding better late at night. Mains related IMO.
  16. Ragaman

    Ragaman Mentalist

    Has anyone measured mains output at these differing times of the day when some think the music sounds superior, would be interesting to find if there is a pattern or if it varies.
  17. steveledzep

    steveledzep pfm Member

    I live way out in the ambient noise (only wildlife).

    Late night listening when the industry and the Coronation Street drain on the national grid has greatly reduced is preferable IMO.

    My opinion may be influenced by a couple of glasses of something though ??
  18. narabdela

    narabdela who?

  19. misterdog

    misterdog Not the canine kind

    Did they fit a proper audio Hi Fi fuse though :D
  20. LouisB

    LouisB pfm Member

    there is that interesting line of argument. Mains travels potentially tens or hundreds of Km to reach the house. The you add 3m of radial from the distribution box... I dare say some home equipment can be noisy. i.e. putting your prize pre-amp on the same spur as the fridge-freezer probably not great. Then again who has their main hi-fi in the kitchen :D

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